By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Mosques and schools, categorised as large water consumers, will be equipped with water-saving devices to reduce their consumption of the scarce resource by 30 per cent, officials said on Wednesday.

Water fixtures will be installed in 20 public schools and 20 mosques in different governorates to raise awareness on the need to conserve water and the role of water-saving devices in reducing consumption, Ministry of Water and Irrigation Secretary General Maysoon Zu’bi said yesterday.

The devices will be installed at the schools and mosques under an agreement signed yesterday between the ministry and Sayegh Brothers for Engineering Industries Company, which will distribute and install the devices free of charge.

“The water situation in Jordan is critical; we are the fourth water-poorest nation in the world… Conventional water resources have been depleted to provide people with water and now we are turning to more expensive alternatives,” she said.

Zu’bi noted that Jordan is resorting to measures such as desalination of sea and brackish water, as well as treatment of wastewater, to meet the demand for drinking and irrigation water, pointing out that such substitutes are costly.

“Given Jordan’s water situation, it is vital to concentrate on the management of water demand and raise public awareness on the importance of water efficiency. Water fixtures are a tool to control and cut down water use,” she said during the signing ceremony.

The official underscored the importance of public-private partnerships in addressing the country’s water problems, urging more private sector firms to support the water sector in Jordan.

Under the pilot project, which is supported by the USAID-funded IDARA (Instituting Water Demand Management in Jordan) project, water use will be measured before and after the installation of the devices to determine how much was saved.

Faeq Sayegh, owner of Sayegh Brothers for Engineering Industries Company, noted that water consumption is high in schools and mosques, therefore they were targeted under the pilot project, adding that around 50 water fixtures will be installed in every school and 30-40 devices in each mosque.

“It is vital to contribute to addressing water scarcity in Jordan; this is part of our corporate social responsibility,” he said.

Meanwhile, IDARA Chief of Party Mohammad Chebaan noted that a water auditing study determined that schools and mosques consume large amounts of water.

“Schools and mosques ranked fourth after the tourist sector, hospitals and public sector buildings. The same study indicated that 70 per cent of water consumption in mosques is from faucets,” he told The Jordan Times yesterday.